Updated: Apr 27
President Trump has declared the US to be in a state of emergency. You've heard the hygiene and isolation measures but what more can you do?
As we were saying goodbye to 2019, a new menace was beginning to brew in the Hubei province of the People's Republic of China.
In December 2019, in the capital city of Wuhan, a new virus (2019-nCoV) was first isolated from 3 patients diagnosed with pneumonia .
While the majority of the cases were associated with a single seafood market, by January 2020 a total of 198 cases of this new coronavirus was reported with 3 deaths .
As of this post, there are currently 2,269 number of people infected with COVID-19 in the United States with 48 confirmed deaths .
As the world watches this infection unfold, holding our collective breath, many of us are reminded of the most recent world health crises in the past: SARS, the Bird Flu, and Swine Flus of the past.
But is COVID-19 different? Does it have the potential to become a pandemic similar to the 1918 flu pandemic where upwards of 500 million people died worldwide?
Health officials seem to think so with the World Health Organization declaring this new coronavirus a pandemic.
While COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-19) may not be a pandemic like the 1918 fu yet, the potential is certainly there.
While health officials are rightfully emphasizing prevention with proper hygiene and isolation techniques, is there anything else that can be done to prevent or lessen an infection?
While none of these have been specifically studied in COVID1, they have been studied in the coronavirus family that COVID19 belongs to.
And it is always smart to keep your immune strong and healthy.
So while the FDA hasn’t approved of any of these recommendations, fortunately, there are still a number of natural options available for you.
Zinc deficiency is unfortunately common in the developing world but did you know that you can have less than optimal zinc intake in developed nations like the United States?
This is especially true for those whose primary source of food is grain based.
Since zinc is more bioavaliable (more readily able to be used by the body) in animal products than plants, those who eat cereals as their primary food source are more likely to be at risk of insufficient zinc intake .
This is because phytate or phytic acid, the storage form of phosphorus, is present in cereals like rice and corn. It inhibits zinc absorption.
But how does zinc help to fight against coronavirus?
Zinc blocks the replication of the coronavirus . It basically inhibits a key enzyme which coronavirus uses to create copies of itself. This helps to prevent it from multiplying and attacking your immune system.
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) of zinc for men is 11mg/day and for women 8mg/day. The optimal daily allowance of zinc can be up to 20mg/day depending on your diet and specific health issues.
Be wary of taking too much zinc since it can cause nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, anemia, and copper deficiency.
Vitamin C has a long history of healing with health benefits with boosting immunity at the top of the list.
And the coronavirus family is no exception.
While vitamin C won't necessarily prevent a coronavirus infection, it can markedly reduce the symptoms of one.
Studies consistently show that high doses of vitamin C, 1000mg or more, help to reduce the symptoms of upper respiratory viral infections.
In some cases, even reducing the symptoms of pneumonia and in others even preventing pneumonia.
The beneficial effects vitamin C are dose dependent which tends to mean that the higher the dose, the better the results. Conflicting studies of the efficacy of vitamin C show that lower doses don't tend to give the same benefits that higher doses do.
Between 3-8 grams a day in divided doses, seem to provide the most benefits.
Be mindful that too high of a dose of vitamin C, while not toxic, can cause gastrointestinal effects like loose stools.
Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that the majority of people are probably insufficient in, if not outright deficient.
The fact that we spend more time indoors and eat less foods that naturally contain vitamin D contribute to this fact.
And, unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is linked to a higher incidence of viral upper respiratory tract infections like those caused by the coronavirus family .
What you probably didn't know is that vitamin D is involved in a process that helps your body make its own powerful antiviral: cathelicidin.
Cathelicidin and defensins are antimicrobial and antiviral peptides that kill to destroy bacteria and viruses on and in the body but attracting white blood cells, the soldiers of the immune system.
They also act as immune modulators which means that they decrease or increase the immune response as needed .
In one study, 4000 IU a day was sufficient for increasing cathelicidin in people suffering from atopic dermatitis.
Be wary of taking too much vitamin D since it is a fat soluble vitamin and it can cause a vitamin toxicity if too much is ingested.
Herbs are one of the most powerful tools we have to combat viral infections since they have natural phytochemicals which work with our body to fight infections.
While there are too many herbs to go over, two of the best antiviral herbs include astragalus and elderberry.
Astragalus is a herb used for thousands of years in ancient Chinese medicine and for good reason.
That’s because astragalus has a whole host of phytochemicals that make it a virus’s worst nightmare.
For example, research shows that astragalus polysaccharides inhibited the avian coronavirus from replicating and causing infectious bronchitis .
Astragalus was also shown to protects astrocytes, cells that support neurons from viral infection.
Perhaps the coolest thing about astragalus is that it boosts the immune system by increasing white blood cells in your body like lymphocytes that help fight viruses like those in the coronavirus family.
Elderberry has long been sued for viral infections like the cold an flu due to it's efficacy and its tasty flavor which kids love.
Elderberry has been shown to be very effective in reducing the symptoms of upper respiratory infections caused by viruses, namely cold and the flu.
Furthermore, elderberry supplementation reduced the duration of upper respiratory illnesses like the cold .
Since the common cold is sometimes caused by the coronavirus family, which COVID19 belongs to, it stands to reason that elderberry could be effective against this new coronavirus as well.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a COVID19 infection, by all means call your health care provider and get tested. Follow and hygiene and isolation procedures and do your best to start building up your immune system.
Just don't panic.
I'm Dr. Candace Mathers, a naturopathic physician, helping you repair, restore, and renew your health and life to new heights! I'm a Christian, a mother, and lover of the outdoors. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for fun challenges, community, and tips on getting healthy naturally!